Physician Assistant (PA) Program

Latest news

The Class of 2016 in the physician assistant program at Penn State College of Medicine achieved a 100 percent national board pass rate as first-time test takers of the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam. Read more about our graduates' success in passing the test.


The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the Penn State College of Medicine Physician Assistant Program sponsored by The Pennsylvania State University.

Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program's ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding Accreditation-Provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students.

Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class.

Program Mission

The Physician Assistant (PA) Program's mission is to prepare graduates to be academically, clinically, professionally, and culturally competent in the delivery of health care services, to develop critical thinking and application skills, and to provide compassionate and comprehensive care to the patients that they will serve. Our graduates will improve the health of their patients and the populations that they serve in an efficient and cost-conscious manner.

>>Learn more about applying to the Physician Assistant program

>>Fast Facts about Penn State Hershey Medical Center and College of Medicine

>>Current Students: Culture of Respect in Education (C.O.R.E.) policy and Student Mistreatment Reporting Form

Large Group Information Session with Faculty, Staff, and Current Students

Tuesday, Jun. 21, 2016 from 6 to 8 p.m.
Penn State College of Medicine – Junker Auditorium

Register Now

Online Information Sessions with Director of Admissions:

  • Wednesday, Jun. 1, 2016 from 3 to 4 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Jul. 6, 2016 from 12 to 1 p.m.

Register Now


PA Program at College of Medicine Welcomes new class
May 2016

From the military to becoming a physician assistant
May 2016

255 degrees conferred at College of Medicine graduation
May 2016

Penn State Wins 16th Annual Medical Challenge Bowl
October 23, 2015

Flickr Album: PA White Coat Ceremony 2015
May 26, 2015

Physician Assistants Grow, Expand Value-Based Care Role
April 22, 2015

Physician Assistants rank #1 in Forbes' 10 Most Promising Jobs of 2015
January 27, 2015

Teaching Students Patient Safety
October 21, 2014

How physician assistants are reshaping health care

July 26, 2014

The White Coat Ceremony was made possible with a grant from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation

New Physician Assistant Program welcomes  students to College of Medicine campus
May 22, 2014

Focused on People and Problem-Solving: Penn State Hershey's new PA Program
May 19, 2014

White Coat Ceremony set for May 20 with keynote speaker, Dr. Dawn Morton-Rias, PA-C
May 8, 2014

PAs ranked in top 10 of best healthcare jobs 2014: CNN Money and U.S. News recently released their Best Healthcare Jobs and Best 100 Jobs for 2014. PA ranked 8th and 13th, respectively.
May 2, 2014

CASPA 2014-2015 Applicant Portal is OPEN
April 16, 2014

Plentiful jobs, good pay: new Penn State College of Medicine PA Program attracts Olympic speedskater, pro pitcher
April 7, 2014

Setting Goals for PA Programs
February 27, 2014

College of Medicine to welcome inaugural class into physician assistant program
February 25, 2014

Ex-Olympian trades skates for grad school
February 4, 2014





The White Coat Ceremony was made possible with a grant from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation


Consistent with the goals of the Penn State College of Medicine, the program will emphasize humanism in medicine which takes into account the dedication of individualized and personalized medicine. It will focus on providing preventive health care services, care for both acute and chronic disease, and will support development of lifelong learning and cultural diversity. Students will be prepared for their professional role as clinicians with an emphasis on care provided in the primary care setting.

We believe that the Penn State PA program will prepare its graduates for modern medical practice and that these graduates will be supremely prepared for their role as clinicians. The goals of our program are the following:

  1. attract an academically qualified, diverse student body with special consideration for veterans and those from economically or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds;
  2. promote application of learning and development of critical thinking skills;
  3. enable graduates to practice competent and compassionate health care with emphasis in primary care;
  4. prepare students for their role as clinicians, professionals, educators, and leaders in the physician assistant profession;
  5. treat the entire patient with cultural competency, addressing physical, medical, psychosocial, and emotional dimensions of the patient.

View Program's Success in Meeting Goals

PANCE Results

Penn State College of Medicine PA Program intends to be fully compliant with Fair Practices regarding reporting of first-time pass rates on the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE). We will report the most recent five-year, first-time graduate performance results in a timely manner.

Since our program has not yet graduated its first class (inaugural class began May 2014 and will graduate May 2016), we have no data to currently report. Please check back after May 2016 when our inaugural class will graduate!

Early Assurance Program:

The Penn State PA Program has early assurance programs with the following institutions:

  • Elizabethtown College
  • Franklin and Marshall College   
  • Lebanon Valley College

Students at these institutions should speak directly with their pre-med/pre-health advisor to discuss requirements and eligibility. The Early Assurance program allows students to make application to the PA program during their junior year of college. Early Assurance applicants have the opportunity to be granted admission at the completion of the early assurance process thereby foregoing the entire CASPA application process as a rising senior/senior in college. Information regarding this program is available upon request. 

Advanced Placement:

Completion of all program coursework (101 credits) is required to graduate from the program. The program will not award advanced placement for coursework completed at a previous institution. If a student requests special exemption to this policy, it will be denied.  

Work Policy:

The Penn State PA program will not prohibit students in the program from working. The program believes that the student is the correct person to make personal decisions regarding life outside of the program. The program is cognizant that each student has made a great deal of personal sacrifices to matriculate into a PA program and students are aware of the challenges of succeeding in a PA program. To this end, the program respects the student's personal decision regarding work. The program generally does not have mandatory attendance policy for class attendance - we would like you to attend class because we feel that the teachers will be excellent classroom facilitators and instructors but we respect learning styles and the student's decision to decide on how to best assure their own learning styles. Each course in the curriculum will provide information regarding attendance and students are required to attend all scheduled tests. Although the program does not prohibit employment during the pre-clinical or clinical training, we obviously do not encourage working because of the personal demands and dedication that PA training mandates. Students attending clinical rotations will have a minimum of 40 hours per week at the clinical site and these hours may involve different shifts and weekends which would make employment very difficult. Students are expected to conform to the schedule that the individual preceptor makes and the preceptor will not be altering this schedule to accommodate a working schedule on the part of the student.

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Title IX

Title IX is a Federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities and provides protections from retaliation. All public and private schools receiving any Federal funds must comply with Title IX. Under Title IX, discrimination on the basis of sex can include sexual harassment or sexual violence, such as rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, and sexual coercion. The United States Department of Education (ED), Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is responsible for enforcing Title IX.

Visit the Office for Diversity website for more information.

For Current Students

Title IX training materials can be found on the Infonet at the Office for Diversity website.

Questions and Contacts

Members of the University community who believe that Title IX has been violated should discuss their concerns and/or file a complaint with the University's Title IX Coordinator.

Dr. Kenneth Lehrman III, Vice Provost for Affirmative Action
328 Boucke Building, University Park, PA 16802
Phone: 814-863-0471; Email:

The University's Title IX Deputy Coordinators are:

Kim Lantz Yoder, Equity Officer, Office for Diversity,
Penn State College of Medicine, C1747N, 500 University Drive, Hershey, PA 17033-0850
Phone: 717-531-0003 ext. 283353; Email:

Sexual Harassment and Assault Reporting and Education (SHARE)

More information on Title IX and direct links for reporting and can be found on the SHARE website which is intended to provide assistance in obtaining information and identifying resources for anyone who becomes aware of these incidents.

Penn State University Affirmative Action Office (AAO) Links